Top 10 Largest Farms & Farmland Owners in the US
As of 2023, there were just over two million farms in the country. However, since 2007, when there were about 2.2 million farms in the United States, the number of farms has been steadily declining.
The average size of farms in the United States fell to its lowest level since 2000 in 2007. The average size of farms is growing as the number of farms in the US declines. With 246 thousand farms as of 2023, Texas, the largest state in the contiguous United States, also has the most farms.
As of 2021, there were more than 2.3 million hectares of organic farming land in the US. The same year, the United States became the world’s largest market for organic food with sales of close to 49 billion euros. The number of certified organic farms in the US increased from 14,185 in 2016 to 17,445 in 2021.
One of the richest people in the world, Bill Gates is best known for owning Microsoft (although he has since left the company), and he is also one of the biggest owners of private farmland in the United States. It was recently discovered that he owns 242,000 acres of farmland in all, spread across 18 states.
It’s unclear how Gates uses his farmland, but one of his foundations supports the development of cutting-edge eco-friendly farming techniques and farmland sustainability initiatives. His largest land holdings are located in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Arkansas. In addition to purchasing farmland, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided over $30 million in grants to assist farmers in Africa and South Asia with non-industrial lots in the development of effective high-yield programs. Researching “super crops” that can withstand the effects of climate change is another area where the foundation has made investments.
One of the biggest owners of private land in the United States is media mogul and CNN founder Ted Turner. He is the owner of 2.2 million acres of land in all, mostly ranches. Argentina, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Nebraska are the main locations of these ranches.
It is unquestionably a sizeable portion of Turner’s land, even though it is unknown exactly how much of it is set aside for farming or grazing. Turner has invested a large portion of his wealth in environmental sustainability, and his ranches are home to over 45,000 bison! Numerous innovative environmental projects are promoted and supported by Turner’s ranches. Some of these initiatives are focused on the timber industry and aim to preserve forests, improve water delivery systems, and conserve and restore native plants that have been harmed by industrial and land development. Turner is regarded as the second-largest private landowner in the United States due to the size of his landholdings, and depending on how it is divided and categorized, he may also be the largest farm owner.
Serial businessman Stewart Resnick has infused his Midas touch into brands like Teleflora and the Franklin Mint as well as businesses as diverse as janitorial services and burglar alarms.
He purchased 2,500 acres of orange and lemon trees in Kern County in the 1970s that were being fire-sealed. Then came much larger tracts that businesses like Prudential Life and Mobil were eager to sell.
Today, the couple’s $4 billion Wonderful Company grows a variety of nutritious goods on its acres in Texas and California, including Wonderful Halos Mandarins, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, and POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. The FIJI Water of The Resnicks? On the island of Viti Levu, it is bottled.
R.D. Offutt Farms, a family-run potato farming business based in Fargo, North Dakota, was established in 1964.
The company actively collaborates with research groups at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota to create the most environmentally friendly farming techniques while preserving high-quality crops.
The Offutts also own RDO Equipment, which offers sales and support for John Deere, Vermeer, Topcon, and other manufacturers’ irrigation, positioning, and environmental equipment.
The Fanjul family is well-known in the sugar sector and enjoys strong brand recognition thanks to their sugar brand, Crystal. The Fanjul family produced sugar in Cuba in the 1850s. However, as a result of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, the family lost everything and had to move to South Florida. Alfonso and Pepe Fanjul formally established Florida Crystals Corporation there.
Many years later, the Fanjul family is the largest landowner in Florida’s Everglades Agricultural Area, with more than 152,000 acres under cultivation, primarily for the production of sugarcane. For comparison, Florida Crystals used their 152,000 acres to process 5.7 million tons of sugarcane, yielding 676,000 tons of sugar and 30 million gallons of molasses.
In addition to operating sugar mills, refineries, and rice mills, the family also owns and operates North America’s biggest power plant, which is entirely powered by biomass. The Fanjul family is one of the biggest producers of sugar in the United States, and their farming operation is vertically integrated, covering everything from production to processing to power generation.
James Boswell II (1923–2009) was referred to by both allies and enemies as “the King of California.” The fitting nickname was well-deserved. At the age of 29, Jim Boswell received a regal bequest from his namesake and uncle: 50,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley. He ruled over California’s Central Valley for the next fifty years, tripling his family’s holdings and transforming vast areas that had not previously been used for irrigated agriculture, revolutionizing the arid region. The King constructed dams.
He changed rivers. In Sacramento, he developed political ties and made enemies. And he produced more cotton than anyone could have predicted. The farms owned by the Boswell family rose to prominence as (and still do) top suppliers of the extra-long staple pima cotton used in fabric blends and upscale clothing. J.G. Boswell Tomato Company also takes pride in its farm-to-table philosophy. From seed to field to processing, it retains total control over its tomato production.
Due to his desire to avoid the limelight, American billionaire Stan Kroenke has earned the moniker “Silent Stan.” He built up his wealth mainly through his empire in real estate. Additionally, he owns Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a holding company for a number of professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets.
He wed Bud Walton’s daughter Anne, a co-founder of Walmart, in 1974.
The 124,000 acres he owns in Montana.
Real estate tycoon Kroenke owns more than a million acres of land in the US, including a 124,000-acre ranch in Montana. Additionally, Kroenke is the proprietor of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
He was born into poverty. At his father’s business, Mora Lumber Co., he had his first job cleaning.
The Lawrence Group, which his father established, is led by Gaylon Lawrence Jr. The Lawrence Group is engaged in a wide range of lucrative ventures, including commercial real estate, banking, and agriculture.
In his lifetime, Gaylon Lawrence, who passed away in 2012, built up a sizable holding on farmland. He was one of Florida’s top fruit producers thanks to his 30,000 acres of citrus farms. But unlike many others on this list, he did not only amass his wealth from farmland. One of the biggest privately owned distributors of heating, cooling, and ventilation was Airconditioning Distributors, which he also owned. After his death, Gaylon Lawrence Jr. assumed control of the business.
Generally speaking, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri are where Lawrence’s land is located.
In America, Lawrence owns 115,000 acres.
On this land, he raises a variety of crops, including fresh vegetables, wheat, and corn.
The agriculture division of The Lawrence Group encompasses 15,000 acres from California to Florida as well as various other locations, especially in the southern Delta where crops thrive. They also keep purchasing farmland every year.
John Malone, like the other people on this list, did not exclusively make his fortune from farmland. Alternatively, he served as the CEO of Tele-Communication Inc. (TCI), which AT&T purchased for $50 billion.
Nearly 2.2 million acres of land are under John Malone’s ownership in the US. But of that, about 100,000 acres are used for farming. Additionally, he owns a variety of properties abroad, including the Irish castle Humewood.
In Colorado, Wyoming, Maine, and New Mexico, 100,000 acres.
The Silver Spur Ranches, a cattle and beef enterprise owned by John Malone, also includes two additional ranches in Walden and Kiowa, Colorado, as well as the Bell Ranch and the TO Ranch in New Mexico.
Jack Simplot was a farmer’s farmer (1909–2008). The native of Iowa made a deal with McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc in 1967 to provide the fast-food colossus with frozen french fries. With that one deal, his Boise-based J.R. Simplot Company went from supplying a small portion of McDonald’s potatoes to producing the majority of the country’s favorite commercial french fry.
In addition to farming, ranching, and cattle production, food processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, and other businesses, Simplot’s heirs are in charge of a $2.5 billion agricultural powerhouse. 82,500 of the 443,000 acres owned by the company—mostly in western Idaho and eastern Washington—are used for farming. Hay, wheat, corn, sweet corn, barley, and potatoes are all produced by the Simplots. Many potatoes.
Richard King, who lived from July 10, 1824, to April 14, 1885, was a riverboat captain, entrepreneur, and confederate. He is best known for having founded the King Ranch in South Texas, which at the time of his passing in 1885 covered over 825,000 acres (3,340 km2) of land.
California is the home and farm of the country’s richest farmer. The 81-year-old Stewart Resnick, who owns The Wonderful Company and 65% of the country’s pistachios, has had a pronounced and profound impact on California’s agriculture. He has hardly ever given interviews in his life.
Most of the farmland in America is owned by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and most of the single-family homes are owned by the investment company BlackRock.
In 2021, Texas, Missouri, and Iowa were the states with the most farms per capita in the country. In 2021, Texas was home to about 12% of all farms in the country. In 2021, there were at least 12,000 farms in 39 states.
Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Iowa, Kentucky, Wyoming, and California are the states with the best agricultural land. When choosing a location, take into account elements like profitability, operating costs, infrastructure, and accessibility.
The largest owner of private land in the US is the billionaire John Malone. He made his fortune in the media industry, where he still holds many of the media properties that we all use today.
The top ten foreign countries by acres owning agricultural land in the United States were, as shown in Table 1, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, France, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Ireland. Three-quarters of the acres owned by foreigners are owned by people from these nations.
Agriculture and farming are crucial components of an economy that feeds people all over the world. There wouldn’t be enough food for everyone if it weren’t for an incredible network of farmers and agricultural experts. To get an idea of how big some farms are, let’s take a look at the top five largest in the United States.
It’s important to note that farmland, not just private land, is included in our list of the top five largest farms in the United States. Since land is divided into different categories depending on its use, the list of private landowners is quite long. Even though some of the land a private owner owns is used for farming, we tried to keep the items on our list strictly related to farmland. Additionally, a farm’s size does not always equate to a similar income. Income is a factor in some larger farms in the United States, but we didn’t use it today.
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